Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Evolutionary Bean Feast

The following is a short story I wrote in 2006.

Evolutionary Bean Feast

It is pitch black. I am likely to be eaten. I scurry across the darkened road, barely avoiding a crater, my nails clicking against the rough cement. I look up to the sky, hoping to see a glimpse of light to guide my way, but the stars and moon do not appear tonight.

The entire city had been lit up: street lamps casting their glows on street corners, store lights left on to prevent attempted thefts, lamps lighting windows in apartments. Then, all the lights had puffed out as if the wind had carried their lives away to a far-off land.

This is a bad omen. Mom told me that the city had darkened only once in her lifetime, the same night her wandering brother had stumbled blindly into the claws of the enemy. Mom always warned me to stay close to home, but the city fascinates me with its wondrous smells.

The smells! Piles of treasures wait for seekers to rift through the dumpsters in alleyways where humans foolishly leave them behind. But the food in the day delights me the most. Greasy pizza lathered with thick red sauce. And meatballs! Sausage! Sizzling hotdogs with charred lines smothered in red ketchup and chili sauce. My mouth waters just thinking of all the delicious treats. Chili is my favorite.

Once, I’d climbed up the leg of a hotdog stand, while the foul man with a hairy belly watched a woman stroll by swinging her hips. I stuck my white paw in the chili sauce and leaned forward to savor the sweet-smelling sauce, but I leaned too far and fell into the sauce. I was in heaven! My skin warmed in the chili, but I dove deeper, eating food on my way back up to the surface. I reluctantly jumped out covered in little pieces of brown meat, beans, and sauce. I heard shrieks. Then the hairy man grabbed me and tried to squeeze me, but I escaped and took off down the street, leaving trails of beans and meat behind me. Mom yelled at me when I left little prints of it in our home, a small hole in the wall of a bean-eating family.

The family, a baby boy and two adults, eats beans everyday. Their clothes have rips and holes and the house is filthy. Mom keeps our home cleaner than their home. I never understood why humans wore clothes, but mom said it’s because they would be cold without them. I guess being hairless has its disadvantages, but that hairy hotdog man could probably keep plenty of people warm with all that hair on his belly alone!

I blink, my white lids briefly hiding my red eyes. What is that? A shadow? I am almost home, only a mile away. Mom says a mile is only a block for humans. If only my small feet could move a little faster. The shadow moves. I swing my head and squint. Is that a furry tail switching back and forth? A cat? Oh, I hope not. Uncle Robert died by a cat.

Suddenly, the world lights up in what seems like thousands of tiny little flames. The lamppost above me blinks on, as well as the store lights and lamps and other bright fixtures. I look again to where the shadow had moved. Nothing. I scurry again, my tail trailing behind me. I run across the alleyway, but then I am yanked backwards. Something pulls my tail with sharp claws. I shriek. I look behind me. It was a cat!! The yellow slits glare at me, and its jaw opens to show its fangs. I can see my home, only a few feet in front of me.

“Mama!!” I yell as loud as I can. The cat picks me up by my tail and dangles me over its head. I look into a black hole ready to devour me. I shut my eyes, waiting for those sharp teeth to tear me to pieces. I squirm and twist as much as I can, but to no avail.

Then, a door opens. “What is that racket?” The bean-eating father scratched his head and glared at my enemy. The mother then arrives at the door.

“It’s that mouse! It sounds so horrible. I don’t want to hear it being eaten alive. Get rid of that cat!” The mother then hurries back into the house, her tattered nightgown flowing around her ankles.

“Shoo, cat!” The father chases after the monster that lets go of my tail, and I fall. I scurry towards the father who turns around and slams the door behind him. I run into the little hole next to the door, and fling myself into the safety of my mother’s paws.